Sunday, July 4, 2010

Integrity - The Blackest Curse (Review)

The latest Integrity output called "The Blackest Curse" was maybe one of the most anticipated records in 2010. And 2009. And 2008, or since the date it was scheduled for the first time, when ever that was. Because of the growing attention towards the classic "Holy-Terror"-sound (whatever that term means, nobody really seems to know that, even bands that use that term to describe themselves don't know it; I'd really like to know what the idea behind Holy Terrorism is, if there really is one) during the last few years, a lot of people look at the originators Integrity and what they are doing within this sub-sub-genre. And, to be honest, I was quite curious myself. Would Dwid surprise/piss off a lot of people again by doing something different like Integrity 2000, would Integrity do a second "To Die For" record, or would they even go for a more "classic" Integrity sound à la "Humanity Is The Devil"? The truth lies in between the latter two options. The riffs are huge, the solos are awesome, the songs are all heavy and dark, in general they are a lot more raw and unpolished than those on "To Die For" - of course, due to the awesome, rough production, that even adds a punk-feeling to the sound. So song-wise, "The Blackest Curse" is definetely a winner. But not everything's good about this record: the total lack of any information about who actually played on that record, no lyrics, no credits, just nothing, could be interpreted as the artist's idea of focusing the listener to the music, but basically it pisses me off. I mean I'm not a fan of liner notes that are longer than the lyrics themselves, nor of never ending thanks lists, and I see that those would be pretty displaced in an Integrity record anyway. But at least some basic information about the record would have been fine, if all records I buy would be like this one I'd stop paying for them and download everything. I mean if you don't miss anything by downloading a record instead of buying it, why do it then? But the fact that makes "The Blackest Curse" just a good, and not an awesome record is Dwid's vocal performance. The vocals are monotone, too deep, and way too gargling, in a way they even sound a bit bored, you know, just sung somehow - no comparison to the grandness of the early Integrity recordings. After a while I really feel annoyed - and keep in mind, this is written by someone who "likes" the vocals on Napalm Death's "Enslavement" record for example.
To sum it up, if you dig the early records by this band, and don't need a super high-end sound like they had on "To Die For", you'll probably like "The Blackes Curse". But because of the substandard vocals and the lack of information I'd only give this record a 7 out of 10.

Integrity on myspace
Deathwish Records